Our Gospel today is from Chapter 25 of the Gospel according to Matthew. Through that chapter’s three quite different parables Jesus outlined the three main criteria by which God will judge each of our lives.
The first of the parables featured five virgins who had oil for their lamps. With the oil representing dying in the state of grace, they were welcomed into the wedding feast. The third parable portrayed five virgins who always tended to the needy. They too were welcomed into the feast.
In today’s parable, the second of the three parables, a master gave each of three servants a different number of talents to work with. The first and the third servant, by working with what each had received, doubled the amount for the master. Today’s second of the three parables pictured a man who buried the talent that he had received, doing nothing with it. The master had him thrown out, where he joined others who were left to grind their teeth.
Although we have narrowed the word talent, restricting its meaning to inborn artistic abilities, in this parable it stood for all the advantages with which one may be born. It would be a good mind, a healthy body, a good family, a good education.
Please forgive me for returning to a line of thought to which I come around too often. Here it is again.
Thirty years ago a schoolgirl raised her hand, asking, “If we are all made in God’s image, how come some people are left handed?”
After I had let that question peculate in my mind for a time, I came up with a fine answer for which I have no Scriptural backing. My answer sees God as similar to a many faceted jewel, with each of us born with a potential for mirroring his or her own facet of God.
As one makes better and better use of the talents he or she was born with, that person will come to better mirror his own facet of God. Since each of us can mirror a different segment of God’s being, if each of us became all he or she could be, we would be, when put together, like a jigsaw picture, form a picture of God.